PROJECTS HEAD TO GA, NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA AS LEGISLATORS EFFECTIVELY KILL TMIIIP
While California recently tripled the film incentive credit they provide to stop the flight of productions to states like Texas, the Lone Star state may do them a favor and scrap their film credit program altogether. Texas, however, as the result of a budget cut to the credit of $63 million to the credit program, now watches as numerous productions, including TV series flee to Georgia, New Mexico and elsewhere. Since the cut, legislators have submitted further legislation to completely eliminate the credit through one house and two senate bills, which would effectively kill the industry in the state.
MONEY STAYS IN TEXAS
Lawmakers have complained that the credit doesn’t provide enough benefit to the Texas economy, however the program has some of the strictest provisions of any program to keep money in Texas through various requirements. Productions get credit only on payroll costs paid to Texas residents and must use Texas residents for at least 70% of their employees. Additionally, there’s a vendor requirement that mandates all qualified expenses to be purchased from Texas vendors. A study of the program from 2007-2012 found that Direct Spending per incentive dollar consistently showed a high return on the program, with a range of $6.27-$19.08 of direct spending per incentive dollar.
While the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (TMIIIP) has only been in effect since 2005, the state consistently hosted landmark films like “Hud”, “No Country for Old Men”, “Giant” and numerous others. Texas has been home to an array of television shows; productions critical to creating a permanent film industry with multiple seasons shot on location. Series like “Friday Night Lights”, “Dallas” and “Walker Texas Ranger” brought Texan culture and lore to viewers across the country, solidifying the film industry and encouraging filmmakers to use Texas for filming. Proponents of the credit hope the state’s storied film history and the numerous Texans who’ve made their way to Hollywood will sway lawmakers to continue to provide this benefit for the film industry.